Picking The Right Future Employee

In today’s economy, organizations are seeking every opportunity they can to reduce costs and increase margins. Marketing plans, purchasing strategies, and asset management are typically three of the most common ways to increase profits. Unfortunately, the one item that costs ag retailers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars each year is often overlooked. That item is “bad hires” — employees that just don’t live up to their expectations.

In some cases, organizations will extend job offers to candidates that may not have all the skills, as it’s tough to get the right candidate to relocate to the community. Even more often, hiring managers interview several candidates and pick what they feel is the standout candidate — only for that candidate to stand out as a poor employee.

How can this be prevented? Is hiring employees as much of a gamble as it appears?

Fortunately, most hiring mistakes can be prevented, and your hiring process does not need to be as big of a risk as you might think. When an organization makes a bad hire, it often goes back to the interview process and trying to figure out what it can do different in the interview that will prevent this from happening. In fact, in the March 2010 issue of CropLife®, we offered some of the questions we utilize to find things about your candidates that can easily be overlooked with typical questions. However, it’s not your interview process and the questions you ask that will be the key to your hiring: It’s what you do BEFORE the interview that will significantly reduce the risk of hiring the wrong employee.

Don’t Assume

Many interviewers naturally assume that a well-prepared candidate is probably the best employee. What most hiring managers fail to recognize is that a well-prepared person may not be the best candidate for the job, and a well prepared interviewer will rarely make that hiring mistake. There are three critical steps that you must take if you want to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong employee.

■ Define the key job responsibilities.
■ Set realistic role expectations.
■ Analyze the work environment.

Define the key job responsibilities. The first step in preventing a poor hiring decision is to first decide what skills and attributes a candidate must possess to be able to meet the minimum requirements of the job on their first day. The key here is “the first day.” If this position requires a person to be able to do specific tasks on Day One — then those qualities must be on the list. If there are activities that need to be accomplished in a few months, and you will have time to train them — then those qualities should not be on the list. Think about the day-to-day routines of this position and all of the skills and personal attributes that are necessary to do the job well. What you may discover is that you may be setting your initial bar too high, and by default, missing out on some excellent candidates that, with a little coaching, could be star performers down the road.

Set realistic role expectations. Many, if not most, of the reasons candidates leave positions after the first year is because either they or the position didn’t live up to expectations. Before you interview the first candidate, you must first define the results you expect from this position in the first week, the first month, the first quarter, and the first year. This is a very critical step that is often overlooked. This activity will ensure both the hiring manager and the candidate that there are expected benchmarks.

For example, it’s easy to say “we expect this sales territory to have a 10% increase in profit this year.” However, it’s much more difficult to lay out the expectations for four or more benchmarks prior to that! When you really analyze the situation, is an increase what you truly expect? If this hire is replacing a good employee that left the organization, your early goals are likely to be more focused on retention. If you are hiring a location manager to “make changes,” it’s easy to say you want someone to improve things and make the necessary changes — but what changes are you expecting in the first week, month, and quarter? Are you looking for someone to get the existing staff focused and pulling in the same direction, or do you want this person to tear things down and build it back up? The same goal — but two very different timelines and methods.

Establishing these goals ahead of time will help you determine which candidates have the best ability to hit these targets. In addition, the multiple goals enhance the likelihood that a manager can resolve any issues or concerns with positive coaching long before their frustration leads to departure or they are dismissed due to not meeting annual expectations.

Analyze the work environment. Take a good look at the prospective supervisor, co-workers, customers, and anyone else an employee in this position will regularly be working for or with. Is the supervisor a hands-on manager or do they coach from a distance? Are the customers in this market loyal/high relationship buyers or is this an area with very low market share? Are the co-workers aggressive and competitive or are they reserved?

The Keys To Success

Next, think about what characteristics are necessary for a person to succeed in this environment. Consider these rules of thumb:

■ If the hiring manager is “hands-off,” then the candidate must have a high level of independence, the ability to develop plans/strategies on their own, and have enough experience to do things without seeking a second opinion.
■ If the manager is hands-on, you need a candidate that enjoys a team environment; the kind of person that enjoys bouncing thoughts and ideas off of others, and organized enough to meet the supervisor’s style of reporting and observation.
■ In a high market share territory, the candidate will typically need to have an expressive or high relationship style to be successful. People with this style develop and maintain a high level of rapport and will offer a high level of customer service. People with this style are focused on making long-term relationships and don’t like the word “no.”
■ If the territory has a low market share, the candidate will need to have a driven personality that typically thinks very strategically and seeks the constant challenges that a low market share environment provides. They are driven by making new sales and don’t care how many times they hear the word “no.” They are, however, often perceived as aggressive and can seem “pushy” to long-term customers.

So to attract, hire, and keep the right employees, preparation ahead of time can not only save you the cost of a miss-hire, but more likely help you select a future employee that can hit the organization’s goals and meet your expectations.

Leave a Reply

Employees Stories

EmployeesAsmark Institute Dedicates New Training Center To Ford West
August 6, 2014
The Asmark Institute plans to recognize the retired industry leader's years of service to the fertilizer industry at the new state-of-the-art facility in Owensboro, KY. Read More
EmployeesSyngenta: ‘Take Charge’ Of Farm Safety
June 4, 2014
Syngenta and health officials warn of four health-related challenges in agriculture and how they can be managed. Read More
EmployeesHead Start Program Prepares The Next Generation Of Ag Retailers
April 7, 2014
Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, in partnership with the Asmark Institute, are offering the Head Start Program to prepare students for work at ag retail facilities. Read More
EmployeesThree Keys To Employee Success
March 3, 2014
Increasing employee performance becomes much easier when managers follow these three simple things. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More